On the other hand, Kant's religion is of a type which requires a sort of deistic God, standing outside the world and constraining it into moral paths, or standing outside our moral struggles and rewarding our goodness.
More distinguished sympathizers are Edward Gibbon, who has the deistic spirit, and David Hume, the historian and philosophical sceptic, who has at least the letter of the deistic creed (Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion), and who uses Pascal's appeal to " faith " in a spirit of mockery (Essay on Miracles).
His theological position was that of a very moderate orthodoxy, which had been influenced greatly by the philosophy and controversies of the Deistic period.
The Natural History of Religion is a powerful contribution to the deistic controversy; but, as in the case of Hume's earlier work, its significance was at the time overlooked.
"Viret," note D), though the deistic standpoint had already been foreshadowed to some extent by Averroists, by Italian authors like Boccaccio and Petrarch, in More's Utopia (1515), and by French writers like Montaigne, Charron and Bodin.
Long before England was ripe to welcome deistic thought Lord Herbert of Cherbury earned the name "Father of Deism" by laying down the main line of that religious philosophy which in various forms continued ever after to be the backbone of deistic systems. He based his theology on a comprehensive, if insufficient, survey of the nature, foundation, limits and tests of human knowledge.
Blount, a man of a very different spirit, did both, and in so doing may be regarded as having inaugurated the second main line of deistic procedure, that of historico-critical examination of the Old and New Testaments.
Collins, who had created much excitement by his Discourse of Free-thinking, insisting on the value and necessity of unprejudiced inquiry, published at a later stage of the deistic controversy the famous argument on the evidences of Christianity.
The bitterness of his outspoken invective against the clergy, against all priestcraft and priesthood, was a new feature in deistic literature, and injured the author more than it furthered his cause.
Before passing on to a summary of the deistic position, it is necessary to say something of the views of Conyers Middleton, who, though he never actually severed himself from orthodoxy, yet advanced theories closely analogous to those of the deists.
Diderot was for a time heartily in sympathy with deistic thought; and the Encyclopedie was in its earlier portion an organ of deism.
Even in the Roman Catholic Church a large number of the leading divines were frankly deistic, nor were they for that reason regarded as irreligious.
Outside France, Germany and England, there were no great schools of thought distinctively deistic, though in most countries there is to be found a rationalistic anti-clerical movement which partakes of the character of deism.
Moreover, the influence of the deistic writers had an incalculable influence in the gradual progress towards tolerance, and in the spread of a broader attitude towards intellectual problems, and this too, though, as we have seen, the original deists devoted themselves mainly to a crusade against the doctrine of revelation.
Yet traces of a pre-deistic and animistic period survived here and there; for instance, in Arcadia we find the thunder itself called Zeus (ZEUs Kepavvos) in a Mantinean inscription, 2 and the stone near Gythium in Laconia on which Orestes sat and was cured of his madness, evidently a thunder-stone, was named itself Zeus Kainreoras, which must be interpreted as " Zeus that fell from heaven "; 3 we here observe that the personal God does not yet seem to have emerged from the divine thing or divine phenomenon.
His sagacity discerned that the rationalism by which Bolingbroke and the deistic school believed themselves to have overthrown revealed religion, was equally calculated to undermine the structure of political government.